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BMW 318ti

jpsu1jpsu1 Posts: 1
Please Help!!!

I've been thinking about purchasing a '99 Ti, but
I don't know if that would be a wise investment. I
am aware that December '98 was the last month of
production (for the states). I have also heard that
BMW has plans to introduce a new line of cars,
similar to the current Ti. Is this true? And if so,
when? Should I buy, or should I wait for something



  • If you current car is still running up to your expectations, and/or the lease has at least another 6 months on it then wait
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    jpsu1- BMW will introduce a new ti based on the E46 Three platform sometime next year. If it is offered in the US it will feature the 2.5 I6. The current ti is still a sweet car; My wife and I have two. For the money, they are the most BMW driving fun short of an M3. Just my $0.02.
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 674
    This is the last car you want to get from the BMer folks
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Please elaborate; share your boundless wisdom...
  • how is the 318ti in snow? i just fell in love with one and am seriously considering cxing my order for a new a4
  • peter41peter41 Posts: 15
    Anyone have an update on whether or not BMW plans on bringing a new ti to the U.S.? If yes, when? I've asked the BMW NA folks and they say they have heard nothing. If not, I may buy a used 318ti, or go with a Saab 9-3 or VW GTI. Also wish the Audi A3 would come here. Any info/advice greatly appreciated!
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I hear that the E46 Compact is US bound, but not for a year at least. And it will be a 323ti.
  • peter41peter41 Posts: 15
    Thanks, div2. I REALLY hope you are right--I have not been able to confirm this anywhere, so I hope your sources are good ones. BMW reps tells me they may come out with a new version of the classic 2002, but NOT a new ti--and they insist that they would know if it were coming for the 2001 model year. Hmmm. Meanwhile, enjoy your 318ti--I may look for a used one.
  • peter41peter41 Posts: 15
    Here's a question I would appreciate input on:

    I can buy a new golf/GTI, or for about the same
    price (or even less) or buy a two year old BMW 318ti
    or Saab 900. Obvious similarities are the
    hatchback and European engineering. Has anyone
    driven all three of these and therefore have
    real-world driving experience? Thanks. There is an ad in my area for a '97 loaded ti for about $17,000.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    You wont catch me saying anyting bad about any of the three. I'm a die hard RWD man so my nod goes to the ti. My two(95 and 98) tis have been essentially trouble free. The base GTI is really not the pocket rocket GTI of years past-you need the VR6 for that. The ti and GTI have the most aftermarket parts available. Don't know much about Saabs; I tend to think that they are a bit of an acquired taste. Still fun though.
  • I have a 96 ti and want to put in a cd changer. The ti, like all modern BMW's, comes pre-wired. Unfortunately, BMW wants around $800 for a 6 cd changer made by Alpine that it designates for this car. Does anyone know of any aftermarket changers that will interface and install as easily as the BMW/Alpine, but cost a reasonable amount?
  • My 96 318ti is now 3.5 years old and has 111K miles on it. It's a great car. Gas mileage is excellent. Much better and more reliable car than the Saab, and far more prestige (if you care) than the VW. I wouldn't hesitate to buy one. BTW, with traction control, it handles well in all weather, including snow. I use four Bridgestone Blizzak's and think they're great.
  • peter41peter41 Posts: 15
    OK, thanks for the replies. I actually don't care about the prestige factor of BMW (and if anything find the snob appeal a real negative). All in all the 318ti just seems to be a better car. Used prices seem high, though, and so its tempting just to get a new GTI. Wish BMW still made the ti for NA market...I still can't figure out why people look down on hatchbacks--it just adds an element of practicality and no downside as far as I can tell. That is why I won't consider the Volvos or Audis (A3 not available here).
  • I have had a 96 ti for 3 + years. An absolute ball to drive. I take it to autcrosses, but it is still stock save for some sticky tires. Don't let the 4 cylinder fool you, this is a great car. Definately go for the sport package which features M division tuning of the suspension. This is definately the modern "2002." For more information there is an active 318ti mailist, at, lots of information as well as archived posts.

    Oh, BTW, I put a changer in mine for $250, bought used from someone upgrading their stereo, another benefit of the mail list!
  • peter41peter41 Posts: 15
    Finding a great used ti takes a lot of effort...after months of looking, here are my two best options: 1) found a 1998 ti sport package with very low miles at a dealer a few hundred miles away for $19K. Good price, great condition car, it seems. Will be in the area next week and can take a look. 2) closer by, a private party is selling a 97 sport package ti with 30K miles for $17K. Both are in good condition, though the '98 is more loaded.

    To be honest, buying a used car makes me rather nervous. Does anyone have an update on a new ti coming out from BMW? Alternatively, I can just opt for the new turbo Golf or a Saab 9-3...gotta have a hatchback.

    Thanks for any thoughts on this!!
  • peter41peter41 Posts: 15
    One more thing: the '98 ti is dark green, light grey interior; the '97 is a lighter blue ("Alaska blue"), black interior.
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    Asking to review the service records may help reduce your used car anxiety, peter41. If they are not available, I'd think long and hard about the purchase. Having a competent mechanic do a pre-purchase inspection of the car for you is another investment in peace of mind.

  • weasleweasle Posts: 24
    Does the 318ti require the use of premium fuel?
  • I have not heard anything about a 323ti in any of my car mags including my british ones. I have an '96 ti that I adore. The gas milage is great (and yes it does take premium) and it is a joy on canyon roads. I bought mine used from the dealer. The hatch had been damaged in shipping an a bmw suit had been driving it for a year. I had some problems with the hatch lock which were fixed, and my fuel gauge still has some wonky habits when filled. My father, despite his fancier cars, still "borrows" mine whenever he has the chance. You can get a car that is more powerful, but you will be hard pressed to find one that is more fun to drive. (within 20 miles or so of the speed limit) You can toss it around curves or around other cars, it makes freeway driving more fun. It has a very sturdy feel, and is very reliable. The caveat being that I live in SoCal and my 318ti does not have traction control. During the first rain, when the grease is slicked, not washed away, I have had some problems starting up from traffic lights. The hatchback is very pratical, and the other 3 series that I have test driven certainly can not really improve on the fun. As long as you don't live on a dirt road and the ti has traction control and good tires, you will never regret buying one. Speaking of dirt roads, I have actually moved to one with snow so I am afraid my precious ti will have to go, however I don't think it is going very far as I left it with my father and he hasn't stopped driving it since. His audi a8, and lexus coupe are getting lonely.
  • capt2capt2 Posts: 57
    I am looking at a 98 ti and the trade in on Edmunds is 13,500 and on Kelly Blue book is $18,500..! What is real??
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Depends on the area as well as demand; I'd say 17,000 would be a fair #, though just a SWAG on my part...
  • sjm7sjm7 Posts: 1
    I own a 318ti with 25,000 miles (I purchased it new in October of 1998) on it and it has been in the shop 10 times in the past year for various reasons. As I write this, it has been at the dealer for 9 days. The main problem has been a very rough idle after the car is warmed up and it has also failed to start on three occasions this year. Until today, 2 different dealerships have failed to find anything wrong with the car. Finally, this week they realized that two of the four cylinders are not running properly and have found carbon deposits in the engine. They are now telling me that the problem has been the fuel that I have been using in the car. I do believe that the carbon deposits are causing the problems but my question to anyone with knowledge of BMW's is:
    1) Can poor gas really cause this much damage to a car with only 25,000 miles on it? Or could there be something wrong with the car that they are failing to tell me about?
    (I use CITGO gas by the way, which the service manager claims is the worst out there. I previously owned a Honda Predlude SI and never had problems running CITGO gas in it!)
  • getz1getz1 Posts: 63
    I am just curious as to what niche the 318ti fills. The BMW is much slower than equally priced, quirky hatchback VR6 Volkswagens, and handles far less capably than a new model honda prelude. Is it strictly the desire for the nameplate, if so, it seems this is analagous to sewing a calvin klein tag onto a pair of Lee jeans.
    I was inspired to look into this after I witnesed a 4 dr accord V-6 destroy one form a red light, this occuring after the BMW driver was taunting the 4-dr with the whole rev my engine gig. I thought that this couldn't be, a sporty BMW beat by a family hauler...but after looking up the numbers, it appears that the BMW is powered by a derivative of my wife's hair dryer (0-60 in a week and a half).
    It interests me how BMW avoided the lack of guts lable for this vehicle, a problem which has plagued the infiniti G20 (extremely capable in the twisities, but the 150 hp bogs hard). After looking at the numbers, I would be hard pressed to pick the Bimmer over the infiniti.
    Everyone knows BMW makes the best sport sedans in the world, but how on earth did they let this one slip out of the stables. It almost seems like a ploy to encroach upon civic/corolla sales...slap that pretty blue & white label on the front of a euro-econo box and scoop up the money. Well, thats my 0.02$.....flame away!
  • ramonramon Posts: 825
    it's only a 1.8l 4 banger. What do you think? :D it's prolly a lot of fun to drive tho than that 4dr V6 accord. having said that, i much rather buy a similar year miata.
  • I am thinking of buying a '97 BMW 318ti with the M3 sports suspension. Car is extremely clean with an RD exhaust, roof rack and bra and 42K on the odometer. Guy wants $17000 for it which seems average price range. I own a '92 Nissan SER which seems quicker, but have had some problems with it.

    Is the Ti a good buy for $17K? It is supposed to be a reliable car but now I am wondering because of some problems popping up with them recently.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Does the car have the M3 front spoiler, M// side moldings, and 16" five spoke wheels? If so, it is a Sport Package car, which is probably the most-wanted ti out there.I't doesn't have an M3 suspension, but the springs, shocks, and anti-roll bars have been tuned by the BMW M Division. The tis are relatively trouble free; check for worn upper shock mounts in the rear as well as a manual tranny that pops out of first or second. Fuel senders have failed in the US due to gasoline composition. I would want to see a full service history on ANY used BMW as well. Ditto for a pre-purchase inspection by a good BMW technician. You might want to check out the 318ti Digest searchable archive at: They are fabulous cars, but then I'm biased- my wife and I have a 1995 and a 1998.
  • yes, the 97ti I am looking at is the M package with the 16" 5 spoke rims. Arctic Silver with leather and cloth interior. The car is flawless and has been given a 5 star inspection report for the mechanical and exterior and interior portions of the car. Also has some extras with it. The owner has been very careful with the car and it is obvious it has been given TLC. I am just choking on the 17K price tag since Edmunds lists the "fair market value" as 16K. But the owner will not move on the price and is even a little irritated with me because he thinks his asking price is more than fair, considering other cars for sale in this area. Southern Cal is probably a little on the high side in relation to other parts of the country.
  • I haven't been able to find a 97 ti sport anywhere close to what I want to pay. I saw a salvage title 96 for 13,500 but all the rest of the 97's have been without the sport package and usually around $16000 for the 97.

    So this extremely immaculate 97 sport for 17K is probably the best I will do in the SoCal market.

    Thanks for all the info on websites and aftermarket stuff. Chuck
  • mfarmer2mfarmer2 Posts: 67
    My husband is looking to buy a 99 318ti. The cost is 18k. According to Edmunds guide that price seems fair. I would appreciate any input on reliability and maintanence costs. Thanks in advance for any advice.

  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    See my post #27 in this topic. Maintenance costs vary wildly depending on where you have the work performed. A good BMW independent can often do the work for 1/2 to 2/3 the cost of a dealer. That said, there are many excellent dealers as well. Here are some ballpark figures-
    Oil Service(@9K miles):$50-$100 using synthetic.
    Inspection I(@18K miles): $125-$300
    Inspection II(@36K miles):$300-$700
    Brake fluid needs to be changed every two years at a cost of @60 and coolant every three years- @100. Hope this helps.
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